Robert Erickson

Responsibilities of the Nevada Legislature and Term Limits

Generally, the Nevada Legislature, which meets every two years, enacts the laws of the state; specifies the tax rates levied on individuals, businesses, property, gaming, and sales; appropriates funds collected for the support of public institutions and the administration of state government; proposes amendments to the state constitution; and considers legislation proposed by initiative petition. In addition, the legislature is directed by the state constitution to establish a state university; a public school system; and a statewide, uniform system of local government.

Representation and Redistricting of the Nevada Legislature

The Constitution of the State of Nevada requires the Nevada legislature to adjust the boundaries of the legislative districts following each decennial (ten-year) federal census. The number of members in each house may be changed at that time, but it is not required. After considerable discussion between the parties and houses, the 2001 legislature decided to retain twenty-one senators and forty-two assembly members. That number has been in effect since the legislature decided in 1981 to add one senator and two assembly members for the 1983 session.

Nevada State Government: An Overview

On March 2, 1861, United States President James Buchanan signed into law a bill passed earlier by Congress to establish the Territory of Nevada from a portion of the Utah Territory. Carson City was selected to be the seat of government of the new territory and has served as Nevada's state capital ever since.

Nevada was rushed into statehood earlier than other states because of issues involving the Civil War and the commitment of President Abraham Lincoln to preserve the union. On October 31, 1864, Lincoln signed the act to make Nevada the thirty-sixth state.

Legislative Sessions and Preparation of Bills and Resolutions

Regular sessions of the Nevada legislature are held once every other year (biennial) in odd-numbered years. The Nevada state constitution requires that sessions convene on the first Monday in February next following the election of members of the senate and assembly, unless the governor, by proclamation, convenes a special session at another time.

Legislative Process in the Second House and Action by the Governor

Following the passage of a measure in the Nevada legislature house of origin, it is transmitted to the second house. If the second house passes a bill in identical form as passed in the first house, it is sent to the Nevada governor. Resolutions that are passed without change are sent to the secretary of state.

Legislative Process in the House of Origin

The Nevada legislature, like legislative bodies throughout the nation, is the branch of government that drafts bills and resolutions. In Nevada, these may originate in the senate or the assembly, the two houses of the state legislature. Following the preparation by legislative staff of a requested bill or resolution, a legislator may submit it for introduction. The Nevada legislature does not appoint committees that have the authority to screen bill drafts or block their introduction.

Legislative Branch of Nevada

Article 4 of the Constitution of the State of Nevada vests Nevada's legislative authority "in a Senate and Assembly, which shall be designated 'The Legislature of the State of Nevada,' and the sessions of such Legislature shall be held at the seat of government of the State." Since it was first approved in 1864, the constitution (article 15) has provided that Nevada's seat of government be located in Carson City.

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